Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘legal advice’

What Are Considered Reasonable Requests Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Maritime on July 4, 2009 at 7:40 PM

When you are employed as a seaman, you are protected in the event of an injury under federal law ruling and the Jones Act.  The right for a seaman that is injured during a period of employment is called “maintenance and cure”.  This basically defines medical benefits – known as cure – and living expenses – known as maintenance.

Being a seaman, the medical benefits you are entitled to cover hospitalization, physical therapy, doctors visits (or medical care), medication, and the facilitation of medical equipment.  If you are a seaman and are in need of any of these instances due to your employment as a seaman, your employer is required to cover these payments – end of story.

If unable to work as a result of an injury or work related health endangerment, a seaman is also entitled to payments for everyday living expenses which include:

– Grocery Bills

– Utility Bills

– Cosmetic and Toiletry Expenses

– Any Other Reasonable Expenses

The only reason any of this is possible is due, in part, to the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act of 1927.  This recognized that people were in need of a federal law to ensure seamen were protected in the same way as everyone else.  This was even more important because there are countless things that could go wrong while out at sea thus making employment at sea extremely dangerous even under the safest conditions.

Sadly, not every employer is going to adhere to the guidelines and practices of the Jones Act.  Due to there being so many uncovered issues with the maritime law, employers have the power to find loopholes in the act and the amendments.  When dealing with any maritime law, especially in affiliation with the Jones Act, you will always want to receive consultation and be represented by a maritime law professional.  An employer of seamen is required to support the legality of the Jones Act and, without proper representation; the employer could very well try to cheat you out of these compensations.

How Long Do I Have to File a Jones Act Claim?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on June 24, 2009 at 7:50 AM

When people are injured on the job, it instantly opens up a very large can of legal worms that can sometimes be very difficult to sort through. There can be a lot of conflicting information being thrown your way. People will be telling you about their experiences or what happened to a friend or family member, you will hear things on television and the company you work for will be trying to push forms in front of you to sign. Because of this, it can sometimes make it difficult to know who is telling the truth. However, it is important that you stop the confusion by speaking with an attorney that is aware of the laws governing your situation.

You may end up feeling a little overwhelmed with the legal terminology that is being presented to them by your lawyers and your employers, there is also the insidious nature of some injuries, wherein a small incident can actually cause a chronic and long lasting problem, or one that increases in severity of its own accord over time. When workers who were working on a seagoing vessel are injured in this fashion, one of the questions they sometimes ask themselves is how long they have to file a Jones Act claim. Especially if it has been some time since their initial accident when the injury truly begins to affect their life, this can be something they wonder about. The Jones Act does cover almost all people injured at sea; however, it is a complicated legal area, making this a very natural question.

The statute of limitations on a Jones Act case is actually three years. This means that you have up to three years from the date of your injury to file a Jones Act claim. A Jones Act lawyer can better counsel you on the specifics of how this works, but the message here is that you shouldn’t let your employers pressure you into signing anything or agreeing to anything because they insinuate that time is running out. You have plenty of time to file your Jones Act case, so do not allow that to be used as means to leverage you into signing something that you don’t have to.

What Type of Attorney Should I Seek to File My Claim?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on June 11, 2009 at 6:36 PM

When someone is injured at sea, they have the right to make a claim in order to receive benefits to help them compensate for the cost of their injury. Injuries that happen at sea are handled in a slightly different manner than injuries which happen while working for a regular company on dry land. If you are injured while working on an American vessel, you are in fact covered by the national law, “The Jones Act” which is designed to protect the safety and the livelihoods of American Seamen.

The Jones Act, a federal law which applies to all American vessels, is an incredibly convoluted and complicated portion of the law. It can at times be even considerably more complicated than the laws and claims which are covered under standard workers compensation laws. This is why a regular workers’ comp lawyer is generally not who you want to hire in order to make a Jones Act claim. Instead you should hire a lawyer who specializes in the Jones Act, or in maritime law, as they are going to be better prepared in order to ensure that you receive a fair compensation for your injuries.

Seeking a Jones Act attorney will give you the best chance possible to receive a fair payout for your injury. Payouts under the Jones Act can potentially be much higher than those which are paid under a regular workers compensation claim. However, the convoluted nature of these laws can make it very difficult for you to make a successful claim without the help of a qualified specialist attorney. If you are injured while at sea, please do yourself a favor and immediately seek out the assistance of a Jones Act attorney. It’s preferable if you can find one that can prove their experience with a proven track record of successful claims.

Can I Represent Myself Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on May 20, 2009 at 12:28 PM

If you are hurt during your employment on any water going vessel, your rights are protected under the Jones Act. Most feel that it is most wise to retain the services of an attorney when dealing with a case that falls under the Jones Act; however, some individuals would rather attempt to represent themselves – and that is perfectly fine, as long as you know full well what they are getting themselves into.

You see, the Jones Act entitles maritime workers to a specific set of rights by law; rights that normal Workers’ Comp laws either do not cover at all, or do not cover to a degree that is fit for a maritime worker. With these specific laws, there are also specific procedures and time frames that must be met in order for a claim to be valid. For instance, if there is not enough clear evidence, your case will likely be denied. Therefore, although it is completely possible for an individual to represent themselves under the Jones Act, it usually does not return the results that one might expect.

The number one reason that individuals choose to represent themselves is to attempt to retain the cash amount that the attorney would have received, which is usually between 10 – 20% of the settlement amount. What some individuals do not realize is that, without an attorney, the amount of the settlement will likely be much less. This is because an attorney who has represented individuals in such cases before will know exactly what expenses or monetary compensation you should be entitled to receive. Many individuals that choose to represent themselves do not realize the many different things that can be included in such a suit and, if they do, it’s likely that they do not know how much they can actually ask to be compensated for.

So, if you are a maritime worker who has been injured while performing your maritime tasks and you are thinking about representing yourself, take the time to review the law and make sure that you fully understand it before you attempt to take on such a feat without the help of an attorney.